With Hiroki Kuroda pitching for the Yankees and Jeremy Bonderman going for the Mariners, it seemed as good an opportunity as any for the Yankees to win. Kuroda's season so far has been pretty impressive, while Bonderman's hasn't. The Yankees' offense has been hot lately, while the Mariners' offense is, well, the Mariners' offense. But, it would be the Yankees' offense that struggled and the Mariners' offense that scored runs, as Seattle came away with a 4-1 win.
The offense immediately got off to a good start against Bonderman, when Brett Gardner doubled on the third pitch of the game. Robinson Cano then drew a walk. Mark Teixeira was up next, and he grounded into a force out at second. But this advanced Gardner to third, and put runners on the corners. Next hitter Travis Hafner's ground out was enough to score Gardner, and the Yankees took a 1-0 lead.
After that the Yankees' offense went to sleep, while the Mariners' offense was slightly drowsy. In the first couple innings, the Mariners put a runner on in every one, but Kuroda managed to escape without allowing a run. But in the fourth inning, he wouldn't be as lucky.
Kuroda started out the fourth by getting two quick ground outs, and looked like he would continue his solid outing. With two outs, Mike Morse came to the plate for the Mariners. He hit a fly ball that bounced over the center field wall for a ground rule double. Kuroda then walked Nick Franklin and Kelly Shoppach, despite getting both of them in two-strike counts. This brought Brendan Ryan to the plate. The light hitting shortstop lined a single to right field, which scored Morse and Franklin. The Mariners suddenly found themselves with a 2-1 lead. Endy Chavez was up next, and he hit a ground ball, which looked to be headed to Reid Brignac, who would have an easy play to make the final out. But the ball bounced up off second base, and Chavez was able to safely make it to first. This loaded the bases again as Jason Bay came to the plate. Bay singled as well, scoring Shoppach and Ryan, increasing they Mariners lead to 4-1. Kuroda got Kyle Seager to fly out to finally end the inning, but enough damage had already been done.
After that the Yankees' offense continued its slumber, while Kuroda settled down a bit. He allowed a single to Raul Ibanez in the fifth, but other than a seventh inning single by Seager which chased him from the game, there were no other hits allowed by Hiroki. After the one out single by Seager, Preston Claiborne was brought in. He continued his mostly solid work this season by getting the last two outs of the seventh.
In the eighth, the Yankees looked to start a bit of a rally, when Brett Gardner drew a two out walk. This brought Robinson Cano to the plate. The Mariners countered with lefty Charlie Furbush. Cano battled, but eventually watched strike three go by as the Mariners got out of the inning.
Claiborne got himself into a bit of trouble in the ninth inning. After getting Morse to ground out, Claiborne allowed a single to Nick Franklin. He then hit Shoppach with a pitch on the foot (would have been ball 4 anyway). This put two on with just one out. But Claiborne struck out Ryan and got Chavez to fly out, keeping the Yankees deficit at a somewhat close margin.
The Yankees started another two out rally in the ninth inning, when Kevin Youkilis ripped a double into left field. This brought Vernon Wells to the plate. On the fourth pitch of the at bat, Wells lined one off the left field wall, but it was foul. It was just a few feet away from being a two-run home run. On the next pitch, Wells lined another pitch, but this one was hit straight at third baseman Kyle Seager, who caught it to end the game.
Kuroda definitely did not have his best stuff tonight, but considering the Yankees recorded just four hits, it's hard to blame Hirok.
Andy Pettitte will take the mound tomorrow as the Yankees look to bounce back. First pitch is at 4:10 eastern.